You stand in front of the crowd. Who stands behind you?

Seth Godin on the future of "Advances"

I just stumbled across an article that was posted on the SANG facebook page – referencing the reliably provocative Seth Godin. His post was titled, “How to Orgainze a Retreat,” and in

typical Godin fashion the first thing he did was change the word association. Retreat

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is negative. So he nicknamed them advances. The full article is over here at Seth Godin's blog. But, what is notable about his ideas is the amount of interactivity that he's proposing between participants. I think it's a powerful idea: You can bring together dozens or hundreds of people and lose control of it for a while, and be none worse for the wear thanks to the fact that you (or your group/organization) was responsible for assembling the people together. The question becomes, in my mind, not if this concept of collaborative and proactive meetings takes hold, but how. The simple fact is, setting aside meeting rooms, booking travel, etc., all these things cost money – and times are tight. But I think looking in to 2011 and the future of the seminar industry, this notion of “advance” will be profoundly valuable. Already I've looked eagerly at missed opportunities to attend Barcamps in the past, but I think there may be a way for some of our more spirited clients to build “camp” style “advances” along the lines of the Godin article referenced above.

The big question is – can you create an environment that forces your customers to participate heavily in order to get the value of the event? That's a tough nut to crack, especially if your current customer base relies on you to provide them the resources to jumpstart their business and/or endeavors. However, perhaps the secret is to embrace your customers' uniqueness, ask them to jump in head-long with you, and see what comes out. Think you're up for it? Let me know, I'll come too…

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